How to Create a Memorable School Trip

We were planning Activities Week for Years 7, 8, and9 after school today. This is a great idea that someone came up with to take Key Stage 3 off timetable during the week Year 10s are in work experience (something all Year 10s in the country do for a week in the summer term). I know it’s not practical to do it very often, but I think kids need a occasional change of pace to shake out the cobwebs.

Some of the week involves some school trips. However, no one thought of the idea used during a sixth-grade (same as our Year 7) camping trip to a state park in Tennessee. Some parents were just a little upset that teachers decided to tell the kids there was a gunman shooting in the park and that they had better crawl under tables and keep quiet.

I’m not sure what they teach in teaching certificate classes in Tennessee, but this is not one of the tactics we learned in behaviour management sessions for quieting a class. It was, however undoubtedly quite effective.

To make the situation more realistic, a teacher disguised in a hooded top pulled on a door like he was trying to force his way into the building. Someone slammed open a door in an adjacent room and simulated the sounds of a struggle.

To be fair, some of the kids weren’t surprised, because this same thing had been done on a previous sixth-grade trip. It seems many parents weren’t upset about the incident itself, but only because it happened so soon after the Virginia Tech massacre. I’m not sure what is says about them that they more outraged at the tastelessness due to poor timing than their little darlings soiling in their underpants.

This was not done by some inexperienced young teachers. It was led by the assistant principal of the school. There was even teaching and learning going on, because afterward they discussed what they would have done in a real situation.

Parents at our school need not worry. Our plans for Activities Week will not involve any gunmen, simulated or otherwise.

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